WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With fewer than 100 days until the presidential election, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced Tuesday that California Sen. Kamala Harris will be his running mate.
“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden tweeted. In a text message to supporters, Biden said, “Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”
Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington.
“Joe Biden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us,” Harris tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”
In March, Biden committed to choosing a female running mate, and he had faced pressure from the Democratic Party to choose a woman of color.
The choice marks just the third time in history a woman has been chosen as a running mate on a major party presidential ticket, and the first time a Black woman has been selected.
There had been renewed speculation recently that Biden would choose California Sen. Kamala Harris after an Associated Press photographer captured handwritten notes Biden held with her name across the top, along with a list of talking points about her.
According to The Associated Press, the points included previous observations Biden has made about Harris: “Do not hold grudges.” “Campaigned with me & Jill.” “Talented.” “Great help to campaign.” “Great respect for her.”
In choosing Harris, Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.
Harris joins Biden in the 2020 race at a moment of unprecedented national crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in the U.S., far more than the toll experienced in other countries. Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused an economic collapse. Unrest, meanwhile, has emerged across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.
Trump’s uneven handling of the crises has given Biden an opening, and he enters the fall campaign in strong position against the president. In adding Harris to the ticket, he can point to her relatively centrist record on issues such as health care and her background in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.
Harris’ record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinized during the Democratic primary and turned off some liberals and younger Black voters who saw her as out of step on issues of systemic racism in the legal system and police brutality. She tried to strike a balance on these issues, declaring herself a “progressive prosecutor” who backs law enforcement reforms.
According to The New York Times, there were 13 women who had been under consideration.
They were former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, Florida Rep. Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, California Rep. Karen Bass, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Democratic Georgia House leader Stacey Abrams, New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Shortly after Biden’s selection was made public, Abrams issued the following statement:
“I am thrilled to support Senator Kamala Harris as the next Vice President of the United States. I am privileged to have been part of this process and to speak with Vice President Biden at length over the weekend and again today. He is building a team that can rebuild America and restore our faith in what lies ahead. I look forward to doing all I can for Team Biden-Harris to deliver Georgia’s 16 electoral votes and a Senate majority, and to fight voter suppression across the country.”
Rice congratulated Harris on her selection, calling her a “tenacious and trailblazing leader.” Rice said she would support Biden and Harris “with all my energy and commitment.”
Bass tweeted, “@KamalaHarris is a great choice for Vice President. Her tenacious pursuit of justice and relentless advocacy for the people is what is needed right now.”
A woman has never served as president or vice president in the United States. Two women have been nominated as running mates on major party tickets: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. Their party lost in the general election.
The vice presidential pick carries increased significance this year. If elected, Biden would be 78 when he’s inaugurated in January, the oldest man to ever assume the presidency. He’s spoken of himself as a transitional figure and hasn’t fully committed to seeking a second term in 2024. If he declines to do so, his running mate would likely become a front-runner for the nomination that year.
Biden’s campaign and other planners for the Democratic convention are still working out the details over how to produce a virtual convention with only eight hours of programming over four nights from Aug. 17-20.
The virtual production is slated for 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT each night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.